Technically speaking, you may not have to register your trademark federally. However, there are some big upsides to doing so. Make sure you carefully consider all of them before making your decision.
To get you started, here are three of those advantages:
1. Exclusive rights.
When working with your goods or services, you alone are allowed to use the mark. This right is exclusive. It gives you the legal high ground if someone else tries to steal the mark — and, in turn, to steal your customers or your sales — and it helps to strengthen your brand in a unique way.
2. Nationwide ownership.
When you register your trademark on the federal level, it’s assumed all across the United States that you have ownership of that mark. Even if you own a small, local business, this can be useful. You never know how your business will grow and the internet makes sales easier all over the country, no matter where you are based.
3. The public is notified that you hold the rights to the mark.
This can help to prevent cases in which someone else accidentally infringes on the mark. This isn’t always malicious, but it can still hurt your brand and it takes time to resolve. Informing the public helps to show them they should avoid using anything similar to the mark and so other business owners won’t accidentally violate your rights.
Don’t put off getting the trademarks you need to protect your company or at least learning about how valuable they can be. For companies of any size, understanding this aspect of the law is critical.
Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office, “Trademark basics,” accessed July 14, 2017